Saturday, July 16, 2016

AronRa Interviews Dennis Diehl

AronRa did an interview of our very own Dennis Diehl this morning.  You will remember AronRa's brilliant take down of delusional Dave Pack over his fraudulent series on evolution. It seems like every thing Dave touches anymore turns into one embarrassing extravaganza after another.

From video site:

Dennis Diehl was a Pastor for 26 years with the Worldwide Church of God under the late Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong. He pastored in 14 congregations in 5 states from 1972 until leaving the ministry in 1998 in the upheaval following the fracturing of the church during a time of reckless theological change. Difficult times brought him to admit to the many contradictions and myths associated with Old Testament Israel, the Gospel stories of Jesus and the enigma of the Apostle Paul as founder of Christianity and not any Jesus. Dennis also came to recognize the damage the failed first century prophecy called The Book of Revelation causes 2000 years later in the lives of those who think it still is for today.
Dennis has written extensively about abusive ministries, the dangers of personality cults, mental illness in ministry as well as Biblical errancy and origin issues. He was included in the Clergy Project, founded by Dan Barker, which is designed to help ministers, who have their crisis of faith, exit the ministry and face the problems such life changes bring to them and their families. 
Dennis is a student of the earth sciences, archaeology, paleontology, cosmology with a special interest in human evolution. While the Bible speaks of "science falsely so called," Dennis appreciates science well done. 
Dennis lives in Portland, Oregon and has a therapeutic massage practice in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

If you are in the Dallas area and want to see AronRa live then check out this event:

My first formal debate, July 23rd in Downtown Dallas


Anonymous said...

Haven't even seen all of the video yet, but I'm thrilled that you put this up!!!


Byker Bob said...

Wow. In a sense, though once removed and through a filter, Dennis did have his debate with Dave Pack. Hopefully, Dave will become aware of this interview, and will watch it. If and when he does, it becomes his decision as to whether to be annoyed, or edified.


Stephen said...

Great job, Dennis. I watched the whole thing all the way through.

Michael said...

Wow, quite a treat to see this ^_^
Nice synopsis of COGdom by Dennis and coverage by Aron.

In a sense it's surprising that Pack/COG has even registered on Aron's radar, but now that it has, it's nice to get his take on it.

He's right, Pack lacks charisma but makes up for it in bossiness, and a lot of people really go for that. I think a part of the human psyche desires to be controlled, it makes life easier not having to make decisions for one's self.

(Trying to transport myself back to recall my own mindset as a believer, I do remember there was a kind of tranquil feeling of comfort when following the pastor/evangelist's directions, "knowing" what you're doing is "right" and not having to worry if you've made the "wrong" decision. Merely doing what has been ordered from above, it's safe, you can't "go wrong". Pack is able to control those with a stronger version of this feeling...)

Michael said...

On video, Dennis stated (paraphrased):
"I like the fact that I'm stardust, a hairless ape with consciousness".

Certainly that is the situation, but personally and honestly I would have to say that I don't particularly like it. (Not that it matters whether I like or not, of course.)

This gets rather philosophical but I would very much like to continue living, perhaps forever or something like it. I don't like the fact that everything I'm learning, every skill I'm acquiring, every relationship I'm forming, every experience I'm having, is going to disappear into a limitless void in XX years.

It seems that biological immortality is going to be achieved in a technological way not so many years hence, but it also seems that it's not going to be in my (our) lifetime - probably 100 yrs or so later, being optimistic.
That bothers me, but there's nothing to be done, so I believe the only option is to enjoy this short time and try to foster health and diminish pain as much as possible.

But just being honest, I don't like the idea of being insignificant stardust that exists and appreciates the cosmos for the shortest wisp of a microsecond in the limitless expanse of time and space, and then will exist no longer...

Michael said...

"Whale of a tale" and "Theory for the Birds"

Ah, precious memories of those ridiculous tracts...
Diligently read through them several times as a high-school student:-)
Thanks for that reference.

Michael said...

Latest bloviation by Pack:
Billed as a "shocking half-hour"! LOL

Doesn't he ever tire of making wild predictions that don't even remotely come to pass?

Anonymous said...

This video is a must see for ministers and lay people still in Armstrongism.

Anonymous said...

I think that the COG's are filled with people who see Armstrongism as bogus but just can't for whatever reason let it go and leave. I think that is especially true about the ministry. How many of these men really believe what they preach but just hang-on for the pay-check?

DennisCDiehl said...

Michael said:

"Certainly that is the situation, but personally and honestly I would have to say that I don't particularly like it. (Not that it matters whether I like or not, of course.)"

That's how I feel as well Michael. I'd prefer to live forever zooming around the universe and learning all I can about all there is. Sharing, teaching and growing. I want to know what kind , not if, of life there is everywhere else. I prefer to think there is a higher intelligence above it all but not one that is jealous , petty, genocidal, can't just say "I forgive you" without atonement by execution of himself or his son or whatever and will burn you up or forever if you don't get it. If it/he/she exists, I suspect it is benevolent, loving, kind and without the need to win, conquer, sacrifice or get all wrathful at mere ants in the cosmos for not believing in the unbelievable.

I do like knowing that everything in the vitimin I take , every mineral, every-thing came from the core of a star that had the courtesy to explode in time and spew its guts into the universe as Neil DeGrasse Tyson says.

The interview was enjoyable and Aron Ra a very educated and personable human being. I take offense at Ralph "Cheers" who judges his long hair and gottee as less than pleasing to him and reminiscent of satanic looks he just knows all about. The skull and cross bones on a shirt he wears is not what Ralph thinks. The skull is of a well known early hominid found in africa showing human evolution and reflects his background in paleontology. Typical judgmental stuff by those who just think they know others without knowing them.

DennisCDiehl said...

and of course, one would have to know what a hominid skull actually was and had seen that particular one in a book on human evolution which they were familiar with...

Michael said...

Dennis wrote:

"I do like knowing that everything in the vitimin I take , every mineral, every-thing came from the core of a star that had the courtesy to explode in time and spew its guts into the universe as Neil DeGrasse Tyson says."

I agree that there's satisfaction in knowing the mechanisms by which it all happened, instead of the pre-school level nonsense of "so-and-so spoke and it was so". It is all rather cool to contemplate, although it does mean that we simply go back to being that stardust...

Hopefully there are, somewhere, entities of higher intelligence than humans, or if not, then humans (assuming no self-destruction) will likely become that higher intelligence and eventually even figure out some way around the heat death of the universe. Now that's what I call an Incredible Human Potential :-)

DennisCDiehl said...

I like that Dave in his latest "blovation" as noted, ( has disabled the ability to fast forward it to avoid having to endure all of it for the punchline. Consequently, I don't know what the obvious sign none can miss is as I missed it or who the Man of Sin is or was .

I give Paul Kroll of Grace Community International, (gulp) credit for an excellent presentation on the topic. It was a problem in the First and Second Century Church as presented in the NT by John, Paul and in certain OT writings. It was part of the constant quibbling and dueling churches engage in under the concept of "you are!..No! You are!...No way..You are!....Nuh uh!!!, You are!"

DennisCDiehl said...

Ralph see if you can't pick out the specific skull from the Cast of Stars in human evolution.

Here is Aron Ra's offending shirt in "Believing what you know you don't know":

Connie Schmidt said...

I think Dennis' backdrop scenery on the video is more interesting and better than Bob Thiel's crooked pink and purple curtains.

DennisCDiehl said...

Had to improvise Connie in my room. Thats an Elk hide pipe bag holding two Catlinite Plains Indian Pipes

The Painful Truth said...

Excellent Dennis!

Anonymous said...

Michael on July 16, 2016 at 11:36 PM said...

Latest bloviation by Pack:
Billed as a "shocking half-hour"! LOL

Doesn't he ever tire of making wild predictions that don't even remotely come to pass?

RE: The Man of Sin--Imminent Threat to You!

I'll make a conservative postdiction that has already come to pass. Some men of sin who have already been doing evil for many years and are continuing to do so are: Joseph Tkach, Gerald Flurry, David Pack, Ronald Weinland, Robert Thiel, James Malm, etc. They are a continuing threat to you.

Anonymous said...

ah Ralph, cheers, is just jealous of Aron's hair. I'm not that fond of long hair and goatees myself, but after seeing the video I kind of like it on Aron. It suits him and he carries it well. He looks very striking and memorable.
It was a good interview between him and Dennis, they work together well.

Anonymous said...

Dennis reminds me of Stephen Elliott at LCG...the voice isn't as deep, but that's the first time I've seen you other than in static pics.

I do hope that when you're resurrected everything you once knew comes back to you and you go with it!

Anonymous said...

anon 9:53, I doubt if Dennis has not forgotten everything he once knew. I know I haven't, even though I stopped believing it was true 40 years ago. For some reason I have a good memory for all that stuff I 'learned' at WCG and AC. The trouble is I stopped believing it was true. If God has anything to do with us, then he gave us a truth seeking and logical mind. My God-given intellect threw off the brainwashing. I really can't imagine wanting to ever go back if I have any sanity or an IQ over 20.

I hope IF I am resurrected all that HWA/WCG/AC bs will be washed from my brain, and if not I guess I will take my place with the goats. Any life along the lines of what WCG and those crooks represented does not seem like something I would enjoy. Does that mean I have committed the unpardonable sin? And last time I saw Stephen Elliot he was a cop, I guess he changed directed too, or did he.

Gerald Bronkar said...

Hey Dennis, thank you for putting yourself "out there" on this blog, again. I truly value the friendship we have created through this blog, email and phone calls over the past two plus years. It is obvious to me that your contributions come from a sincere and loving desire to help others escape the clutches of their learned and inherited religious beliefs.

About the same time you were beginning your career in the ministry, I was being terminated from the Personnel Department in Pasadena for questioning the authority of the department head. He actually came to my home, requested my keys and fired me while I was recovering from surgery(which was approved--my surgery--by the church). Never once did he or any church member make contact to see if my family of five was surviving. There isn't much love if the authority is questioned. Actually, there isn't much love period.

That was 43 years ago, and we are all doing well, no thanks to the WWCG or their biblical god. There were many adjustments and years of fear, but we have moved on, and my children, who have beautiful families of their own, escaped with few scars. My daughter Amy, the oldest was a victim of the "child abuse principles" I had been taught by "god's ministers", but she has forgiven me.

I look back on that fearful day in 1973 when I was fired, and recognize it to be the very day this former slave was given his freedom. How long would it have continued had I not been given the boot? I celebrate my freedom every day!

I remember saying to the god I thought I knew, "If this is what your kingdom is about, no thanks, I'll take my chances." Not until I retired in 2005 did I start to question all of my religious beliefs. As you say, Dennis, the information is available if you have the desire and guts to dig. It isn't that hard, but you have to be willing to admit you could be wrong. Most people can never do that, and that is why they still cling to their miserable system of belief. Very sad.

Keep up the good work, Dennis. Your effort is a bright light in a dark forest.

Anonymous said...

Anyone listening to David Pack's latest sermon/noise called The Man of Sin--Imminent Threat to You! needs to realize that David Pack is a MAN OF SIN and an IMMINENT THREAT to them.

Dave is now going crazy making up more and more nonsense all the time and claiming that it is not just his opinion but what the Bible says if you will just read it. Dave is capable of making up anything and coming up with literally dozens of “proofs” for it but he cannot make anything he predicts ever happen.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Great job, Dennis. Be true to yourself.


Anonymous said...

Excellent interview Dennis, I'm impressed. However I believe that you, like many here, fail to differentiate between abusive churches, and the existence of God. They are not a package deal as many claim or imply. A person can believe in God, grow as a person, live by the ten commandments, without belonging to a abusive church. Bible twisting and gangster ministers, does not invalidate the existence of God or Christianity.

Byker Bob said...

How well known is Aron Ra? Is he better known than Dave Pack? I ask this not to level him, but simply because prior to Gary posting the video debunking Dave Pack (and I applaud that debunking) I had never heard of him. No street buzz, no seeing his name in the news, etc. Yet he seems to have quickly achieved hero or guru status.


Stephen said...

BB, Aron Ra is pretty well known in the atheist community. He runs a blog at Patheos in addition to his Ra-Men podcasts. I'd bet Aron Ra is more famous, even though it's definitely a niche fame, simply because I doubt anyone outside of COG circles is even aware of him unless they happen to stumble upon his material, like what just happened.

Byker Bob said...

Thanks, Stephen. I guess my next question is do you think Aron has the right stuff to take these Armstrong-flavored videos viral? Usually it's short videos (attention span) that end up going viral. It'd be nice if as many people as possible saw the ones countering Dave Pack.


Anonymous said...

I just listened to the interview.

With regard to the "charisma" (of dave pack) - that Dennis spoke of that Aron said he couldn't see - I'll make a comment or two.

I remember a person writing a few years ago that he'd gotten Dave Pack's informational packet and found it "rather convincing", even though on another level he knew it was wrong.
It was later that I realized that it was only because that person had been inculcated in Armstrong's teachings, and still had at least "one foot in the door" (psychologically speaking) when he read Pack's informational packet, that he found it "rather convincing", in any way.
Those people more fully exited from Pack's crap and Armstrongism would normally just throw such asinine assertions out for what they are: asinine assertions!

No matter the degree to which some people claim to have left Armstrongism, it's obvious that some (who claim to have left) are still strongly entrenched in it. Their comments are too revealing to not notice they're still firmly there.

I doubt that any person who never heard of Herbert Armstrong would think that Dave Pack has charisma. Only those still inculcated into HWA's teachings would find Dave Pack to be charismatic.
To most, he's seen as a demanding, bullying, 'know-it-all' megalomaniac asshole. (As was Pack's mentor, Herbert Armstrong.)

Anonymous said...

"I guess my next question is do you think Aron has the right stuff to take these Armstrong-flavored videos viral?"

Hey dude, look things up for yourself!
Don't be like my ex-mother-in-law who wanted others to do for her what she could have done for herself.

I've been reading AronRa's things for a few years.

Tell him what you've said about how "people are now being raised from the dead in Jesus' name" and how it's "not been reported because of mainstream media bias" , and maybe he'll debate you about that.

Maybe it'll go "megachurch" viral, lol!

Byker Bob said...

Hey, 11:03, I may be in your part of the country later this summer. Mind if I drop in?


Anonymous said...

I take offense at Ralph "Cheers"

I concur. Such "cheers" are often meant as an insult.

If there were a "Satan", what would he look like?
Apparently, Ralph thinks he'd look like AronRa.

Long hair on men is anathema to Armstrongists, and the shape of hairs near the lips is apparently very important to them- enough to drive them to their knees asking for divine protection from persons with such satanic whiskers.

If Ralph didn't "pray away the AronRa" enough, what would happen?

I can think of many scenarios, but the one he'll face now is the most real. (At least for now. For an Armstrongite, getting back to even a semblance of reality isn't simple, and takes time and much thought.)

Not that thinking for oneself is a skill learned while "in herbie's church"!
Escaping the cult requires thinking for one's self. It's an innate ability which must be reclaimed.

Stephen said...

Haha, whoops, sorry, I meant to say I think that Aron Ra is more famous than Dave Pack but just because I doubt anyone outside of COG circles is even aware of Dave Pack unless they happen to stumble upon his material, like how Aron Ra just did.

Um, I don't see Aron Ra's podcasts or 11-part take-downs of kooky internet televangelists going viral. It's not the sort of thing that goes viral is it? I think Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris would have to do it to even approach that kind of exposure. But then again, anything an atheist has to say isn't going to be accepted by COG folk, and the more popular it is with "the world," the more COG folk are likely to reject it as "the work of the devil" anyway.

I'm not sure who would be the right person to take down Dave Pack so that COG folk would sit up and listen. Short of ol' Hog Jowls himself, there might not be anyone...

Anonymous said...

"Hey, 11:03"

Sure, Bob. There's lots of nice restaurants near here where we could meet. My wife just asks that you not ask us to get involved in your version of "Jesus" or any religious stuff. (Things you've tried to mention in a positive light like 'people now being raised from the dead', and your big thumbs-up to those crazy 'Promise Keepers' are creepy to her.)

Anonymous said...

Dennis said: "I'd prefer to live forever zooming around the universe and learning all I can about all there is."

Yes, " go anywhere, talk to anybody, and ask any question,.." JAW

And Dave Pack would prefer: "To go around and control everything forever, living forever only to "Show who's the boss!"

Speaking for myself, I came into this Universe curious and helpless, but I plan on going out even more curious while being much more helpful to IT.

"We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Archibald Wheeler